Each week I review two wines with my “Sip It!”-or-“Skip It!” recommendation, a rating of one to five corks, and an overall summary based on the [Hugh] Johnson System (abbreviated HJ). (All Vintages and product numbers refer to the LCBO.)
Clos de l’Epinay Cuvee Marcus Vouvray 2012 (Chenin Blanc, Loire Valley, France)
Vintages #: 408252 | 750 mL bottle | $20.95
Wine Type: White
Calling all red-wine drinkers, this is the white for you! Crisp, playful, and delicately sweet, this Chenin Blanc is sure to please. With a mild citrus flavour and a minerality that dances across your tongue, this off-dry, refreshing white is a great match for seafood or a Friday night pyjama party. I’ve seen a few reviewers call this a “Vouvray of middling quality,” but I argue that this wine is accessible, and while not complex, certainly enjoyable.
HJ System Scoring: 1 glass (signals tolerance, even approval)
Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2014 (Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand)
Vintages #: 304469 | 750 mL bottle | $31.95
Wine Type: White
I know I’m going to be an outlier here by encouraging folks to skip New Zealand’s iconic wine, but this textbook Sauv blanc is just too herbaceous for my taste buds. On the nose, I was overwhelmed by green pepper (my least favourite veg) and lemongrass, which seemed to translate to the palate. With its long finish, nipping acidity and fresh summery feel, it’s probably a must-have for the recently departed patio season, but I enjoy something a bit more subtle. This would be a fine pairing with mesclun greens or a light pasta salad.
HJ Scoring System: 1 sniff (worst possible score; considering elevating this to a sip…)
Dispatches from the world of wine – a roundup of blog and news articles of the week.
- Waddington’s launches its Fine Wine & Spirits Division. Mark your calendars for their inaugural online and live auctions later this fall.
- Grape Growers of Ontario name Jamie Slingerland of Pillitteri Estates Winery 2015 Grape King.
- Continuing wildfires in California threaten grape yields and saleability, though the overall “brand” seems to be going strong.
- 2015 could be Oregon’s best harvest in history, making both 2014 and 2015 exceptional vintages.
- Chilean winemakers breathe a sigh of relief after this week’s earthquake.
- Ever wonder what pairs with a Whopper? Burger King Spain celebrates 40th anniversary by answering that very question.
- Wine Australia experiencing success in targeting select Asian markets, including Japan… where Chilean wine could dethrone France as the “reigning king of imported wine.”
- Africans are drinking wine five times faster than the global average, with Angola and Nigeria leading the charge.
Wine world miscellanea – from varieties to regions, and from vine to bottle.
THIS WEEK: Variety
A.K.A.: PX, Perrum (Portugal), Pedro Jimenez (South America)
Origin: Spain, most likely in Andalusia
Growing Regions: Spain, Australia, Chile
Wines Produced: Sherry (Spain), Apera (Australia)
Jancis Robinson calls PX the “unsung hero of Montilla” — that’s the Denominacion de Origin of Montilla-Moriles in Southern Spain where mainly sweet dessert wines are produced. Though it can be crisp and citrusy when vinified, it’s more often sun-dried to make a thick sweetening agent for Sherry.
WSET STUDY BUDDY
As I diligently study for my WSET Level 2, I share some of my favourite web resources on wine — from podcasts to infographics to apps, oh my!
Cram Study App
Worried I’d turn into one of the nuts (er… aspiring master sommeliers) in “Somm,” with thousands of index cards cluttering my home, I stumbled on Cram, an electronic flash card app. You can build your own (which I did for WSET 1) or access thousands from users, like yourself, who have made their cards public. The app tracks the number of correct answers, and helps focus on the content that fails to sink in. My only caution is that any user-generated content be carefully reviewed before you add it to your study card library. (Some answers are wrong!)
While perfecting the art of the pithy tasting note, I’ve relied on the Davis Aroma Wheel more than I’d like to admit. This useful graphic has helped me pinpoint the scents I pick up when sniffing a young Cabnernet Sauvignon or oaked Chardonnay, and, yes, it’s even allowed me to identify cork taint on what should have been a delightful Chianti. I highly recommend printing this puppy off and keeping it nearby as you uncork your next bottle.